The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, Col. Ahmeed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd), in a bid to fulfill his three point agenda of Restructure, Reform and Increase Revenue has taken the Customs sensitization campaign to communities in the Seme/ Badagry axis in order to ensure that peace and understanding reign between Customs Officers and the inhabitants of the area.
The CGC was represented by the Zonal Coordinator, Zone “A”, Assistant Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service, ACG Eporwei Charles Edike. The Customs Area Controller of the Seme Command, Comptroller Victor David Dimka and senior officers of the Seme command were also part of the CGC delegation.
CGC Ali said; “we are worried by cases of clashes between people in this area with Customs Officers. The worst part of it is that these clashes are taking lives. Human life is too precious to lose for any reason. We have come here to let you all know that as Nigerians we are one. The fact that Customs Officers wear uniform does not make them your enemies. They are your friends, brothers and sisters”.
Attributing the clashes to misunderstanding and lack of compliance to Laws of the Federation on Trade and lack of proper human relations between the communities and Federal Government Agencies working in the border, the ACG called for improved working relations among all stakeholders in the border.
In his words “Violence has never been known to produce any good thing. It only brings regrets, disgrace, shame and pains. It causes retrogression instead of progression. The youths should be patient. They should take things easy. They must control their emotions. Customs Officers or any other Government Officers must not be provoked by words or acts of disobedience”.
The CGC also furnished the people with the list of items that can be imported into the country but not for trade but personal use only (Absolute Prohibition Trade), list of items that cannot be imported for any reason, Absolute Prohibition, and list of Items that cannot be exported, Export Prohibition list. Cpoies of these lists were also given to the community leaders.
The ACG tasked the Chiefs and Youth leaders to make the lists available to their people to prevent clashes when Customs Officers insist on doing their jobs as directed by the federal government.
Responding to complaints that some Customs Officers are overzealous and lack emotional control, resulting to improper use of weapons, the ACG reiterated that the CGC does not tolerate improper use of arms. He revealed that an Officer of the Service was recently dismissed for handling ammunition in a manner not approved by the Board.
The ACG while commending the Seme Area Controller for his effort at community relations and training of Customs Officers on the proper handling and use of arms, he also asked for the continuous training and retraining of Officers